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Leagues: Bundesliga

‘Now beat Barca’ – Glasner hands Frankfurt a Europa League challege

Berlin (AFP) – Eintracht Frankfurt coach Oliver Glasner has challenged his side to beat Spanish giants Barcelona in their plum Europa League quarter-final tie following Friday’s draw.

Frankfurt marched on in Europe Thursday by forcing an own goal in extra time to seal a 1-1 draw at home to Real Betis, earning a 3-2 aggregate win in the last 16.

The ball bounced into Betis’ goal off away defender Guido Rodriguez in the 120th minute to put hosts Frankfurt through in dramatic scenes.

Sevilla are fifth in Spain’s top flight with Barcelona third, inspiring Glasner to challenge his side before their mouth-watering home leg on April 7.

“I’ll say casually and provocatively: if you can progress against the fifth-placed team in the Spanish league, you can do the same against the team (Barcelona) who are third,” urged Glasner.

Frankfurt sports director Markus Kroesche said he took heart from seeing Barcelona squeeze past Galatasaray with a 2-1 away win in their last 16, second leg tie.

Barca needed goals by midfielder Pedri and striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to come from behind in Istanbul on Thursday following a goalless first leg.

“We saw Galatasaray posed extreme problems for Barcelona and that’s our goal too,” said Kroesche.

Frankfurt have won their last two Bundesliga games to sit ninth in Germany’s top flight.

They last reached the Europa League semi-finals in 2019 when they lost to Chelsea on penalties, but have their work cut out against five-time European champions Barcelona.

Glasner insists his Frankfurt team will play to beat Barcelona and reach the last four with the winner of the quarter-final between West Ham and Lyon waiting.

“After we drew Barcelona, the players cheered and were happy because it’s just a dazzling name,” added Glasner.

“The boys went out, but I brought them back and said that the semi-finals would also be drawn – it doesn’t end with Barcelona.

“We’re confident that we can overcome this hurdle.”

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